Sunday, September 13, 2009

2009 champs decided on Judy Fox Memorial night

2009 champs decided on Judy Fox Memorial night

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The race for the 2009 championships in all but one of the six divisions was decided this past Saturday evening at Redwood Acres Raceway. It was Judy Fox Memorial night at the Acres making the event even more special and prestigious. Prior to the start of the trophy dashes, nearly all of the drivers in all of the divisions pulled their race cars out onto the track for a few memorial laps while track announcer Rollin Trehearne read off names of dozens of those who drivers wanted to remember on the evening.

The limited street stock class did not race on the night allowing Kenny Demello to claim the 2009 track title in that division over Fergy Ferguson. Ryan Walters had to feel very comfortable going into the night as he held a margin of nearly 70 points over second place Casey Mitchell in the points standings for the real stock division. Jim Redd held off Mitchell, Walters and Bill Middleton to win the trophy dash. Mitchell took the heat race victory over Redd, Walters, Nick Green and Ryan Robinson. In the 15-lap feature, Walters quickly moved his way into the lead, passing front row starters Ray Middleton and Bob Lima. A lap 6 caution bunched the field for a brief period, but nobody had enough strength to challenge Walters for the win. At the checkered flag it was Walters cruising to the victory and the 2009 real stock track championship. Mitchell was second followed by Robinson, Redd and Lima.

The points race in the mini stock class was a family affair as Craig Baker held a one point margin over brother Scott Baker going into the night. Brian Murrell, Jr. won the trophy dash over Scott Baker, Steve Smith and Craig Baker. Craig Baker took the heat win ahead of Scott Baker, Brian Murrell, Brian Murrell, Jr. and Jessie Chown. Going into the 15-lap feature, the Baker brothers were tied in the points. After Murrell, Jr. spun on the initial start, the race restarted with Craig Baker taking the lead over Scott. The best battles on the track during the race were between family members. In the early stages, the father/son duo of Murrell and Murrell, Jr. battled hard for the third position. In the closing laps, the Baker brothers dueled for the race lead and the 2009 mini stock track championship. Scott Baker tried to make his move on the final lap, driving inside of Craig going into the third turn. Coming off turn four, Craig’s momentum from the outside line prevailed and he was able to cross the line just a few feet ahead of Scott. Murrell was able to take third while Murrell, Jr. spun off turn four while trying to mount a challenge on his father. Brian McIntosh crossed the line fourth while Jessie Chown was fifth.

The race for the 2009 track title in the roadrunner division didn’t end on this evening, making it important for points leader Charlie Anderson to survive the night and make it for the September 26th and 27th events. Wyatt Roach won the dash over Dustin DelBiaggio, Jimmy Murray and Nick Hansen. Roach followed up with a heat race victory ahead of DelBiaggio, Eric Rice, Aaron Sandifer and Dillon Cook. Rice wrestled away the lead from Raleigh Willoughby early on in the 15-lap main event and pulled away from the field. Meanwhile, Willoughby had his hands full with the likes of Sandifer, Cook and Roach all vying for the second position. On lap five, Roach moved past Willoughby for second. On lap 9, Anderson and Willoughby made contact in turn two sending Willoughby spinning into the infield. Behind that, Dylan Fox who was driving the track car got too high in turns one and two and hit the water barrels that protect the wall going into the pits. Fortunately neither car suffered serious damage with Willoughby returning to the field and Fox exiting the race. Nobody was able to mount a challenge on Roach for the race lead and at the checkered flag it was Roach taking the win over DelBiaggio, Cook, Rice and Anderson.

Dennis DelBiaggio had the track championship sealed up for the sportsman division as he held an insurmountable 88 point margin over Angelo Marcelli headed into the night. DelBiaggio padded his lead with a win in the trophy dash over Larry Pries, Jerry Peterson and Marcelli. The heat race had an unfortunate incident that ended the evening for several cars. While dueling for the lead, Lissa Uselton and Rick Fox made contact in between turns three and four. Both cars came together and hit the turn four wall head on collecting DelBiaggio, Kavin Conn, Pries and Kenny Demello. Uselton, Fox, Conn and DelBiaggio all suffered severe damage while Conn and Pries came out more or less okay. Marcelli won the heat over Peterson, Shawn Craig and Demello. With the field significantly reduced, the laps for the main event were reduced to 15. DelBiaggio was able to bring his car out to take the start and be awarded points, but quickly pulled his car back into the pits. After racing side-by-side the first three laps, Peterson was able to snatch the lead from Marcelli. The main event ran quick and smooth with Peterson winning over Marcelli, Pries, Craig and Demello.

David Henderson would have had to not show up for Robert Miller to have any chance of taking the 2009 thunder roadster track championship. Paul Peeples, Jr. won the trophy dash over Randy Olson, Tommy Payne and Mic Moulton. Ray Elliott won the first heat over Dan Browne, Bruce Ziemer, Gehry Foster who was making his first start of the year and Jay Bahner. Henderson took the second dash over Olson, Miller, Payne and Brandon Barnwell. The caution flag flew early in the 35-lap main event for debris in turn three. While slowing down on the front stretch, several cars got together, most notably Mike Ward. Ward spun into the infield and back onto the track in front of Barnwell. Barnwell avoided serious damage but Ward was finished for the night.

Browne led the field to the restart but he had a fight on his hands holding off Ziemer in second. On lap four, Ziemer moved under Browne for the lead while Miller and Olson followed into second and third. On lap seven, Miller found the opening he needed going into the first turn inside of Ziemer. Coming off the corner Miller took the spot with Olson following closely behind. The two ran nose-to-tail until lap 11 when Olson moved under Miller off the second turn to take the lead. Miller didn’t give up easily though has he moved under Olson off turn two the next lap to try to take the lead back but he didn’t have the muscle coming off the fourth turn giving Olson the clear lead. Henderson began making his presence known as the race entered the late stages as he began to mount a challenge on Miller for second. On lap 27, the caution flew for a spin by Elliott. Under the yellow, Olson’s engine began to sour and he was forced out of the race. The red flew briefly for a fire under Olson’s car in the pits, but it was quickly put out.

Miller now led the restart over Henderson and Peeples, Jr. Miller couldn’t hold off Henderson as he took the lead on lap 28 with Peeples behind. Miller tried to get second back from Peeples in turn one but the two came together sending Miller spinning in front of the rest of the field. Moulton had nowhere to go and hit Miller and several cars were collected into the wreck including Bahner and Rob Nelson while Elliott took evasive maneuvers by driving into the pits. After the restart, Henderson was able to withstand the pressure provided by Peeples to hold on and take the win. Barnwell finished third with Payne fourth and Moulton fifth.

The next event at the Acres is the Fall Spectacular on September 26th and 27th. Real stocks and mini stocks will be racing Friday night and could Saturday as well pending the car count in both classes. Roadrunners and Thunder Roadsters will be racing both nights. The late models will have qualifying and the heat races Friday with their 100-lap main Saturday evening while the Northern California Pro-4 Modified will be joining the show Saturday as well.

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